Medical Science / Medicine Essay

Women in Medicine

Over the years, women have suffered a lot of segregation and limitation in various aspects of human society. In various parts of the world, they have not been considered full members of society and thus have been mostly limited to domestic functions in society. Only men were allowed to perform fully in society as they were seen as superior to women. But as time went by and the human society became more advanced and modernized, the recognition of women as men equals was accepted in most areas of the world. This recognition allowed women to attain freedom and gave then an avenue to work in various occupations that affected human life. One of the sectors that women were allowed to work in is the health sector. Women have contributed greatly to various aspects of the medical field. Various popular women that have made a great contribution to the world of medicine are discussed in the article below.

• Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell is one of the most important women in the history of women in medicine. She was the first American woman to earn a medical degree. She achieved this in 1849. Before getting her degree, she had taken training and worked as a midwife in various parts of Europe helping other women during childbirth. During this period, she, unfortunately, lost her sight in one eye, but she did not let this stop her from following her dream and her career as she later went back to Europe in a bid to get a job as a physician. Since female physicians were so uncommon and unpopular back then, people were reluctant to employ her. Frustrated, she then decided to open her own dispensary in a rented house.

Many years later, around 1857, Blackwell opened the New York infirmary which focused on providing medical care for the poor. It also focused on providing medical training and experience to women who were interested in becoming physicians but could not get the required knowledge in other male-dominated hospitals. Blackwell was a great advocate for women in medicine. She also helped in advocating for gender equality in medicine.

• Elisabeth Kubler-Rose

She was a Swiss-born American doctor that contributed to the field of psychiatry. After the second world war, Kubler-Rose as a teenager traveled across Europe and helped communities devastated by the war by providing them with medical assistance and help. In 1957, Kubler received her medical degree officially and then traveled to Chicago where she worked as an assistant professor of psychiatry at Billings hospital. It was at this time that she started taking a special interest in patients that were terminally ill and were suffering from end-of-life anxiety or depression.

In 1969, Kubler-Rose published one of the most important psychological studies on the 20th. This study was based on death and near-death experiences. The book which was called On Death and Dying described the five stages of grief for those who were dying and these stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The Kubler-Rose model or the five stages of grief as it was popularly known became an important tool for physicians in understanding and treating dying patients.

• Virginal Apgar

Lived between 1909 and 1974, Apgar was one of the most important women that contributed greatly to medicine as we know it. Apgar is famous for her invention of the Apgar score which was a vital test in determining if newborn babies required medical care or not by the early identification of defects in the baby’s body. The Apgar score as it was widely called was quickly adopted by medical doctors all over the world and has contributed greatly towards reducing the rate of infant mortality in the world. Apgar was also the first woman to become a full professor at the Columbian university of physicians and surgeons.

• Rebecca Lee Crumpler

She was an African- American physician that was born in 1831. She became a doctor of medicine in 1864 after studying at the New England Female medical college, the graduated and became the first African-American woman to become a physician in the united states.

Crumpler first practiced medicine in Boston and focused mainly on women and children, but later, after the American civil war, she moved to Richmond, Virginia to start a proper missionary work by caring for women and children. She was also famous for a reference book A Book of Medical discourses which she wrote and published after she graduated as a physician.

• Francoise Barre-Sinoussi

Born in 1947, Barre-Sinoussi a Persian scientist is widely celebrated for her great contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS. In 2008, Barre-Sinoussi discovered that HIV was the cause of the immunodeficiency disease in AIDS. She accomplished this great achievement along with her research partner Luc Montaigner when they discovered that the HIV retrovirus attacked the lymphocytes which played an important role in the body defense. This discovery changed the course of the fight against AIDS and has brought great hope to those fighting the disease.

Along the course of history, despite the restrictions and limitations that have been placed on women's rights, a lot of women have contributed greatly to the growth of medicine and have helped in the discovery of several brakes through in the medical field. Other women that have also contributed to medicine include Ann Preston, Gertrude B. ElionWomen in Medicine, Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake and many more.

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